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John Carmack
New York Times

A.J. Jacobs

The Year of Living Biblically

We sometimes hear of people who claim follow the rules of the Bible to the letter. But how practicable is this? In The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible A.J. Jacobs decides to give it a try.

Mind you, he doesn't try to follow all of the rules. One thing that the book makes very clear is that such a thing would be impossible, and there is always some degree of choosing and interpreting the rules. Rather each section of the book quotes a verse from the Bible and Jacobs explains his attempts to follow it. Not wearing mixed fibres meant packing away some of his clothes, but wasn't so difficult. Not eating fruit from trees which are less than 5 years old is a bit harder. The reader also finds out about what he got to see during his year, for instance sacrificing chickens and handling serpents.

It's interesting how agnostic Jacobs gradually begins to 'buy into' the idea of religion, but don't expect anything too deep from this book. You'll more likely read it for the humour, for instance working out how to stone adulterers without getting into trouble, and if you accept it on that basis then you'll find it an enjoyable read.